wernoclue: Hi Vanessa!
wernoclue: I'm sure it's just us tonight.
wernoclue: : (
butrfli425: Hi there! Just us again?
wernoclue: Seems to be...
wernoclue: I'm at a complete loss as to how to get people to actually read the books that are chosen.
butrfli425: : ( I know I don't always make it, either, but participation seems lower than usual lately!
wernoclue: It's terrible and getting much worse.
wernoclue: Any ideas?
butrfli425: We aren't the only ones who voted for this book. : ( I wish I did have a good idea.
wernoclue: I know. But honestly there were no more than 5 votes for any book this last time. That's not a good number.
butrfli425: I'm really at a loss. I wonder if just asking for people's top reasons for not participating might help; maybe there are some reasons that could be worked with.
wernoclue: I would like to ask everyone to consider really recommitting to the group -- but I'm a little afraid of what the answer might be.
wernoclue: That's a good suggestion.
wernoclue: I'm going to definitely do that tomorrow!
wernoclue: Well, enough of that depressing topic.
butrfli425: Maybe it's just simply that too many people have gotten to the point to where they want to be able to come and talk amongst friends about whatever they are reading, but they don't want to commit to having to read anything in particular? If that makes sense
butrfli425: Ha - okay, enough...
wernoclue: It does make sense and I know what you mean. But Jill did have a point about how we stay better connected if we participate in the group reads.
wernoclue: Wish I could find where she said that.
butrfli425: Regardless of the lack of participation (including my own in the spoilers thread) - I am really glad you nommed this one!
wernoclue: Me, Too!
wernoclue: I saw you comment on FB that you loved the book. I'm so glad because I did, too!
butrfli425: She posted so often, it would be hard to find a particular comment. : (
wernoclue: I've looked and failed already. I might try again someday.
butrfli425: I guess... Jane? Didn't? I didn't find it depressing at all. I mean, it's not a happy story, but not one I was depressed by. Somehow that makes sense to me. There were a lot of happy scenes, too, and I loved the writing.
wernoclue: Oh, me too. And sometimes all it takes is good writing but I thought this was a good story, too.
butrfli425: I read all the stuff at the end - eight years to write this!
butrfli425: I thought it was a great story.
wernoclue: I can understand why she thought it was depressing, though. It's a book that I read reviews of and was intrigued by when it first came out but was leary of reading because it could have been depressing. Glad I pushed past that because I really loved it.
wernoclue: Yeah -- I would totally lose heart about anything that it took me 8 years to do!
butrfli425: I don't know that I ever felt like I completely understood Della, but I'm not sure we're meant to. I think she was just so broken by life, between Michaelson and then Jane's death.
butrfli425: If I'm remembering correctly, another book I read, I want to say a couple of years ago - Matterhorn - took a couple of decades to write!
wernoclue: The way she was written I wondered if there wasn't something more than that wrong with her... Some level of "developmental delay" as we say these days.
wernoclue: Or emotional issues from birth or something.
butrfli425: I wondered that, too - psychological trauma or something wrong from birth.
wernoclue: Ugh. I don't have that level of stick-to-it-iveness.
butrfli425: I would guess that the author would say it was because of her horrific life more than anything else.
wernoclue: It felt like from birth to me, but the author is young. She may not have realized she was creating that impression.
wernoclue: My comment could be construed as insulting to the author, too.
butrfli425: I don't think I could work on anything for that long, either. Writing a thesis for a year was tortuous. LOL
butrfli425: For being young (do you know how old?), this is really, really impressive, though, as a debut. I can't wait to see what she writes next!
butrfli425: In fact, I could see reading this one again. Could you?
wernoclue: I always get nervous for new authors with such great early success -- can they follow it up?
wernoclue: You know, I used to look forward to re-reading favorite books but now... too many books, too little time.
wernoclue: And I just finished reading Life After Life and can see me re-reading that one more readily,.
butrfli425: Is that the Kate Atkinson one, or the other (aren't there two with the same title)?
wernoclue: Atkinson. And yes, there are two -- the other one is Jill McCorkle or something like that.
wernoclue: Just looked -- the author is 31.
butrfli425: Oh, okay. Is it part of a series, or does it stand alone?
wernoclue: It's a complete stand alone.
wernoclue: Unlike any of her other books.
butrfli425: 31, wow. So she's been working on that since... 23!
wernoclue: Even more amazing when you put it like that!
butrfli425: Maybe it took her so long because she wasn't quite "matured" as a writer at 23? I don't think that there are many who pull it off that young.
wernoclue: I think you're right. Plus she was thinking of herself as a short story writer, not as a novelist.
wernoclue: Sometimes as I'm reading I find myself paying less attention to the story or the character than I am to wondering how on earth the author thought of ... that. Whatever it might be.
wernoclue: Of course, now that I say that I'm reminded of the many authors who say their characters take on a life of their own. I can see that happening.
butrfli425: That's right, she did say that. I never looked at short stories as something that would be "easier" than a novel. In some ways I would think them harder because you have to try to say everything in less space. More economy.
wernoclue: I agree. But I also almost never read short stories.
wernoclue: Do you?
butrfli425: LOL - I do that, too. I just don't know how you can start writing and let the character lead you down the path. I feel like if it were me, my character would go nowhere. LOL
butrfli425: I do sometimes, but not too much. I think the most recent ones I read were a set by Alice Munro.
wernoclue: I can't really remember the last time I did, unless we can count Olive Kittredge. : )
butrfli425: Ghostwritten, if that counts
wernoclue: Both connected sets of stories. But I don't think either one of them really counts!
wernoclue: I said Olive just because I think the author is generally a short story writer, not a novelist.
wernoclue: Although I think it odd to make such distinctions.
butrfli425: Because the characters are connected? Not if the stories can't stand alone outside of the book, I guess..
butrfli425: Olive Kittredge - Elizabeth Strout?
butrfli425: She also wrote Amy and Isabelle, I think - good, but I found the subject dark. Not short stories.
wernoclue: I've heard of that but don't know anything about it.
wernoclue: I'll have to look it up.
butrfli425: Teacher seduces student, mom finds out.
wernoclue: Ah. Yes, that could be very dark.
wernoclue: Did you have a favorite character in The Orchardist?
butrfli425: What did you think of Talmadge? I was really frustrated with him at times. Just wanted to shake him and tell him to open his eyes and pay attention to Angelene.
wernoclue: Yes, but he seemed so true to a man of his times! Quiet. Taciturn. Feeling deeply but completely unable to act on it or express it.
butrfli425: I liked all of them; it would be hard to pick a favorite. Even Della was interesting; she would probably be the least favorite, although her story was really compelling.
wernoclue: I did keep hoping to find out what happened to his sister, despite how silly that would have been.
wernoclue: Della was so broken. But I agree she was interesting.
wernoclue: Was it Della musing near the end or Angelene about why one sister would have jumped and the other hesitated?
butrfli425: But he was acting on his feelings for Della. But after Della died, there was a passage about how their love for each other needed no words, so maybe Angelene wasn't as hurt by it in the end.
butrfli425: Hmmm. Was it Angelene when she was sitting in the tree?
wernoclue: Maybe. Probably. I thought it was pretty clear that Michaelson preferred Jane and took that to be the reason why she was more afraid of being taken back.
butrfli425: Did you have a favorite? I also wondered about the sister, and also why Clee never returned to see Talmadge once he was released from jail.
wernoclue: I think Talmadge was acting on his feelings for Della but more in a way that meant he'd failed in some level of responsibility toward her.
wernoclue: Angelene felt it as more of an emotional thing, but I don't think Della did.
wernoclue: I was sad that Angelene sold the land and moved away, too.
butrfli425: Yes, he did prefer Jane. Jane was probably more desperate to never go back than Della was.
butrfli425: I was, but then I felt like she had nobody to share it with. Had she stayed, would she have been left to lead the same kind of life as Talmadge had before the girls? I don't think she would have been happy entirely alone, all the time.
wernoclue: No, I don't think she would have either. But there's no reason why she couldn't have married and made a go of it. But that's wishing for a happy ending and I don't usually do that!
butrfli425: I also wondered about her rare dream at the end. It seemed a bit like the end of Titanic to me - like maybe that was her vision of heaven.
wernoclue: I don't know who my favorite character might have been. Much like you I enjoyed all of them. Initially I was going to say Talmadge but that shorts too many others.
wernoclue: Remind me of the dream...
butrfli425: Maybe her leaving was a happy ending for her - being able to let go.
wernoclue: Maybe. I think she would have left because of loneliness, though.
butrfli425: At the very end, she dreams of a white house, her mother is upstairs making beds or something, Della is there, Talmadge is standing on the lawn watching her come towards him... maybe like the life she wishes they would have had together.
wernoclue: Ah, yes. Dreams like that always make me wonder if the person just died and the author wants it to be ambiguous.
butrfli425: It sounded like a rare but recurring dream, so I didn't take it to be her death - but I know what you mean. But I thought it might be a hint of what she was hoping for after death, or in the case of heaven, a glimpse of what is waiting for her?
wernoclue: Yes. A pleasant thought for her.
wernoclue: I'm sad that so few people read this one. I really, really liked it.
wernoclue: I'm surprised that Jane didn't; she and I usually agree on books but, obviously, not always.
butrfli425: It could have been other factors, too - timing might not have been the best for her, or something.
wernoclue: Oh, yes. So much of it is about mood, isn't it? I often wonder how professional reviewers get past that?
wernoclue: I think that I'm just in the best reading mood lately because I'm really enjoying pretty much everything I read.
butrfli425: Maybe they don't, and that's why there is usually someone who liked something less than everyone else.
butrfli425: I think after forcing myself to finish the nonfiction book, I was prepared to really enjoy a story for a change. : ) Not that I didn't like the other book - I did - but at some point it felt like "work."
wernoclue: Maybe. I would think somehow it would be a job requirement that you have to be objective? You have to understand the craft of writing well enough to determine whether a book is good or bad no matter waht your mood is? Something I could never do.
wernoclue: What nonfiction was that?
butrfli425: Sorry - son was asking for me. He is still sick. Asking for food, though - a good sign.
butrfli425: It was Salt, Sugar, Fat.
wernoclue: Nonfiction almost always ends up feeling like work to me; I always think I have to concentrate more and take in absolutely every single detail in a way I dont worry about in fiction. And that's hard to sustain, for me anyway.
wernoclue: Although I didn't feel that way about Henrietta Lacks.
wernoclue: Glad he's feeling better. What was the matter?
butrfli425: Yeah - that book, I felt like I should have been taking notes.
butrfli425: We have had the stomach flu. Only he and I got it. I am finally feeling better today, but he is still sick.
wernoclue: Ugh. There's been SO much stuff going around this season.
wernoclue: I'm completely shocked I've stayed as healthy as I have.
butrfli425: Doc gave him some anti-nausea pills today, but he is still constantly in the bathroom with the other problem.
wernoclue: That one seems easier to me than nausea. You can eat when you have diarrhea but not when you think you're going to puke it all up!
butrfli425: I know - I don't know where we could have gotten it. My husband thinks we got it from The Olive Garden because just he and I went two days before, before the Mother Son dance at his school. I have been so sick this school year! You're lucky! : )
wernoclue: Well, I'm about ready to settle in with my book and it sounds like you have a kid to feed.
butrfli425: I would rather have diarrhea than nausea, too. Most of mine was vomiting and nausea. Horrible. I managed to hold out until the end of classes Monday, left during my prep and puked ten minutes after I got home. LOL
butrfli425: Yes, if he is asking for food I should find him something sooner rather than later. What book?
wernoclue: A mystery set in England -- The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow.
wernoclue: Light and enjoyable.
butrfli425: Enjoy! : ) Anything else you think of to talk about with this one - ask in spoilers thread? Nudge me on FB if I miss them?
wernoclue: Will do! Did you have anything else you wanted to mention about it?
butrfli425: No, we talked about the only things I had thought of re: Talmadge / Angelene and the dream, and her leaving the orchard.
wernoclue: O.K. then -- see you on the boards!
butrfli425: Have a good night! Bye! : )